What Is Intuitive Eating?


Have you heard of Intuitive Eating? It’s something that I’ve heard talked about a lot lately. Registered dietitian nutritionist Evelyn Tribole came up with the concept of intuitive eating in 1995 with another dietitian and she describes it as “a journey of self-discovery and connection to the needs of your mind and body – only you can be the expert on your body.” That doesn’t do much to define it, but basically intuitive eating asks people to figure out what they like and what they don’t like and what “nourishes them on a day-to-day basis.”

Still confused? There are no rules in the “non-diet food plan,” and here’s how it works:

  • Moving the scale isn’t the goal – Health and well-being are the priority, not losing weight. Instead, the goal of intuitive eating is to “free up brain space” so eating doesn’t stress you out, make you anxious or become a source of shame.
  • You can eat the whole pizza, but you won’t always want to – Since there are no rules, you can eat anything you want and some folks may be tempted to eat EVERYthing when they start intuitive eating. But the experts say that desire to eat everything in sight goes away quickly because when you let yourself eat anything, you don’t crave it as much.
  • Context is everything – Intuitive eating focuses on the foods that make you feel great physically and meals that create positive emotions.
  • You may need help – A nutrition coach can help guide intuitive eaters through issues using food journals to track food intake and mood and find a connection between them.
  • In the end, don’t worry, be happy – The idea here is to enjoy food without feeling guilty or obsessing about it. Registered dietitian Valery Kallen says a lot of her clients start trusting their body and “finding body peace” within about six months of starting intuitive eating.